FHP releases dispatch call of officer speeding, officers react
MIAMI (WSVN) -- The Florida Highway Patrol has released an audio recording of the dispatch call made by a state trooper as she pursued a police officer allegedly speeding in his marked vehicle while off-duty.
In the audio, Trooper Donna Jane Watts is talking to a dispatcher as she pursues a Miami Police Officer. "I don't know what agency he is. I'm on 91 almost to Sunrise. He's well over 120, and he's not stopping," she said.
The audio and video of the chase was recorded on Oct. 11 at 6:30 a.m. That is when Watts spotted a speeding vehicle on the Turnpike. "All I can see is a white patrol car with blue or something like that, bright lights. It would be a Miami or D.O.T, and I'm sure it's not D.O.T.," she said to the dispatcher.
Moments later, someone speaks on the radio. "If they tell you it's a patrol car, just have her back off," said the unidentified person.
Behind the wheel, is off-duty Miami Police Officer Fausto Lopez. Watts pulled him over, pulled out a gun and handcuffs. "Now it's up to the court system. He was issued a criminal notice to appear for reckless driving, and it's up to the court system," said the FHP trooper.
However, at the website leoaffairs.com, which calls itself the voice of law enforcement, has an on-line forum dedicated to the incident, which shows it has become a controversial one.
One post defended the Miami police officer: "I would have loved for Watts to try and pull me over in my marked unit and draw her gun on me! She would have a very rude awakening. I would wait till I got to my district, called all my boys, and then you, Miss Watts, will be very sorry!"
Another post defended Watts for her actions: "He endangered multiple lives ... He's the villain, not the trooper. If you don't believe that, then you are delusional or just plain 'union style goons.' You make me sick."
The union representing Miami Police Officers has spoken out about the incident.
According to a published report, the union vice president fired off a letter to members, which compared the trooper to a mentally unstable person: "Many of us would have acted differently if a fellow cop pulled a gun on them. I would have thought she possibly was a Baker Act that stole an FHP car and a uniform."
Lopez is due in court next month.
(Copyright 2011 by Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)